Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars
For Maurice Jones-Drew owners, the only silver lining to his foot injury in Week 7 is having Jennings on your bench. If Jennings isn’t on your bench, go get him, even if you don’t own MoJo.
Jennings had 102 yards and a touchdown on 28 touches Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Though he’s had injury issues of his own in the past, Jennings is a fully-capable backup with a good mix of power and quickness.
Monitor the injury updates on MJD, but don’t hesitate to put in a waiver claim for Jennings. You probably won’t be the only owner in your league doing so.
Production prediction: 25 touches, 117 total yards, one touchdown
Jamie Harper, Tennessee Titans
OK, so the Buffalo Bills run defense is pretty bad. The Bills allowed four rushing touchdowns last week in their 35-34 win over the Titans—a game in which both Harper and Chris Johnson scored two touchdowns apiece.
Harper is hardly a big part of Tennessee’s offense, but he does seem to be their new short-yardage back. He has three touchdowns over the last two weeks on just nine carries, but also is averaging just one yard per carry in that span.
Harper isn’t a strong play in smaller leagues, but he has some value in deep leagues in which touchdowns are hard to come by. At the very least, pick up Harper as a handcuff if you own Chris Johnson.
Production prediction: Six touches, 17 total yards, one touchdown
Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
I doubt Andrew Luck owns Ballard in his fantasy league.
Luck found the end zone twice with his legs in Week 7 against the Browns, effectively crushing the hopes of Ballard owners everywhere—never mind Browns fans, who experienced the agony of defeat by way of a coaching meltdown.
Still, Ballard proved to be a capable replacement for Donald Brown, who is sidelined with a knee injury. Ballard gained 84 yards on 20 carries despite losing some touches to Delone Carter.
With the state of Indianapolis’ defense, Ballard is unlikely to see 20 touches per game, but could provide some relief for fantasy owners truly in need of a running back at this point in the season.
Production prediction: 18 touches, 101 total yards, one touchdown
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
Richardson is working his way into a healthy share of the workload in St. Louis, though he has failed to find the end zone this season.
Richardson had 79 yards on 11 touches against the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. While Steven Jackson was the only back to find the end zone for the Rams, Richardson’s activity is encouraging.
St. Louis hosts the New England Patriots in Week 8, and although the Patriots have been stout against the run this season, Richardson could be a nice flex play in deeper leagues. The Pats have been atrocious against the pass, and Richardson can do some damage catching balls out of the backfield.
Production prediction: 14 touches, 93 total yards
Andre Brown, New York Giants
Many fantasy owners dropped Brown after his concussion a couple weeks ago (myself included), which paved the way for David Wilson to assume the backup role in New York. No such luck.
Brown vultured a goal-line score from Ahmad Bradshaw against the Washington Redskins in Week 7, while Wilson went without a touch in the game.
Tom Coughlin has tinkered with his running back situation in a manner that would make Mike Shanahan proud, and his willingness to do so has driven fantasy owners crazy. It seems Brown may have once again assumed the backup role in New York, and owners should consider him a Ben Tate-esque acquisition.
Brown will continue to get touches, and in the event of a Bradshaw injury, will likely re-take the starting role.
Production prediction: Eight touches, 53 total yards